Since its publication in 1946, George Orwell's fable of a workers' revolution gone wrong has rivaled Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea as the Shortest Serious Novel It's OK to Write a Book Report About. (The latter is three pages longer and less fun to read.) Fueled by Orwell's intense disillusionment with Soviet Communism, Animal Farm is a nearly perfect piece of writing, both an engaging story and an allegory that actually works. When the downtrodden beasts of Manor Farm oust their drunken human master and take over management of the land, all are awash in collectivist zeal. Everyone willingly works overtime, productivity soars, and for one brief, glorious season, every belly is full. The animals' Seven Commandment credo is painted in big white letters on the barn. All animals are equal. No animal shall drink alcohol, wear clothes, sleep in a bed, or kill a fellow four-footed creature. Those that go upon four legs or wings are friends and the two-legged are, by definition, the enemy. Too soon, however, the pigs, who have styled themselves leaders by virtue of their intelligence, succumb to the temptations of privilege and power. "We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of the farm depend on us. Day and night, we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples." While this swinish brotherhood sells out the revolution, cynically editing the Seven Commandments to excuse their violence and greed, the common animals are once again left hungry and exhausted, no better off than in the days when humans ran the farm. Satire Animal Farm may be, but it's a stony reader who remains unmoved when the stalwart workhorse, Boxer, having given his all to his comrades, is sold to the glue factory to buy booze for the pigs. Orwell's view of Communism is bleak indeed, but given the history of the Russian people since 1917, his pessimism has an air of prophecy. --Joyce Thompson
From Library Journal
This 50th-anniversary commemorative edition of Orwell's masterpiece is lavishly illustrated by Ralph Steadman. In addition, it contains Orwell's proposed introduction to the English-language version as well as his preface to the Ukrainian text. Though all editions of Animal Farm are equal, this one is more equal than others.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This is a delightful audio presentation! Acclaimed British actor Timothy West brings to life this well-known tale of revolution on a British farm by the animals, a satire of the former communist regime in the former Soviet Union. Orwell's text is at times tiresome, but the audio presentation never drags. West's presentation of the various characters is great--pigs, horses, mules, chickens--even bleating lambs. West also sings, in his best revolutionary voice, "Beasts of England." The only drawback to the audio presention is that there can be no footnotes; Orwell's Britishisms and the various references to communism go by unexplained. Despite this drawback, the meaning of the tale is clear. M.L.C. Winner of AUDIOFILE's Earphones Award. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody. (Kirkus Reviews)
Well-written, thought-provoking, funny and above all short, it is considered perfect for the attention span of the MTV generation. For those who have yet to have the pleasure it is a satire on Stalinism in which animals take over a farm. Inspired by the vision of the prize boar Old Major, the animals of Manor Farm rebel against their human masters and establish a model democratic community in which 'all animals are equal'. But power corrupts, and gradually the dictator pig, Napoleon, betrays the animals back into slavery. ('All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.') (Kirkus UK) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Animal Farm remains our great satire on the darker face of modern history.” –Malcolm Bradbury
“As lucid as glass and quite as sharp…[Animal Farm] has the double meaning, the sharp edge, and the lucidity of Swift.” –Atlantic Monthly
“A wise, compassionate, and illuminating fable for our times.” –New York Times
“Orwell has worked out his theme with a simplicity, a wit, and a dryness that are close to La Fontaine and Gay, and has written in a prose so plain and spare, so admirably proportioned to his purpose, that Animal Farm even seems very creditable if we compare it with Voltaire and Swift.” –Edmund Wilson, The New Yorker
“Orwell’s satire here is amply broad, cleverly conceived, and delightfully written.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“The book for everyone and Everyman, its brightness undimmed after fifty years.” –Ruth Rendell
With an Introduction by Julian Symons
Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell) was born in India in 1903. He was educated at Eton, served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, and worked in Britain as a private tutor, schoolteacher, bookshop assistant and journalist. In 1936, Orwell went to fight for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War and was wounded. In 1938 he was admitted into a sanatorium and from then on was never fully fit. George Orwell died in London in 1950. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Orwell's brilliant 1946 satire, chronicling a revolution staged by the animals on Mr. Jones's farm.